Thank you for getting back to me and don't worry about the delay.
If the claim is worth more than the small claims limits, it would likely interest an attorney on a contingency fee basis. If you don't know, a contingency fee arrangement is one in which the attorney receives a portion of the client's settlement or award as his payment, typically 1/3 of the total amount. If there is no recovery, the attorney does not get paid. The client never pays until the settlement or award is obtained (except perhaps to cover the filing costs for his claim).
Since this is no longer an eviction, you would not be entitled to the expedited litigation process available in eviction proceedings.
Ultimately, this would boil down to a breach of contract dispute that you would want to pursue in California Superior Court. If the total amount in dispute is less than $25,000, it would be a "limited" civil case, for which certain procedural rules apply that will make it easier and quicker to resolve your claim.
Essentially, you must allege that your former employee's breach of your agreement caused you to sustain damage as a result of your failure to rent out the unit he or she was occupying.
You will probably want an attorney to represent you in this matter.
For attorney referrals, visit this link: http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/main.cfm?id=CA
or visit http://www.martindale.com
On MartinDale, you can search attorneys by their practice area, which many people find useful.
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